Saturday, August 08, 2009

Trying men's souls all over again

Writes Thomas Paine in the eighth of his Letters to the Citizens of the United States:
The independence of America would have added but little to her own happiness, and been of no benefit to the world, if her government had been formed on the corrupt models of the old world. It was the opportunity of beginning the world anew, as it were; and of bringing forward a new system of government in which the rights of all men should be preserved that gave value to independence.
Even as the ink began to dry on the Declaration of Independence proclaiming a break from the tyranny of European-style government, a faction began plotting to re-forge the chains and re-establish Europe in the new world.

When Thomas Paine returned to the United States in 1802 after a decade and a half abroad, he saw the leftover effects of a presidential administration who didn't trust the people to exercise the blessings of liberty appropriately. The ongoing influence of that thinking was evident 20 years later when that president's son was elected president himself, as if one family had the right to the keys of power like a European monarchy.

Into the 21st century the tug-of-war continues. Some find it altogether appropriate to eye a candidate for leadership simply because he or she bears the name of Kennedy, or Bush, or Clinton. Senators and congressmen's sons and daughters, wives and husbands, succeed to their position as if it were a family heirloom. And each succeeding administration finds new ways to clutch remaining bits of liberty from the hands of the people. But that's not the new style of government Thomas Paine and his fellow patriots envisioned.

These Letters to the Citizens of the United States, and Particularly to the Leaders of the Federal Faction strike me as more relevant than ever — and so I offer them as a free eBook or, should you prefer someone else to do your printing and binding, as a book for sale.

Click on the eBook image to download these important words — and see the context of what I wrote about here and there and again of late. Click on the words book for sale for more about the dead-tree edition or click on the Richardson & Bluhm logo for our full line of lovely editions.

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